Chapter 3: Crying for the Light
“Madame must not be offended,” says the superintendent. “You see, what the guard is trying to say is that the quill of the African porcupine is longer that the quill of the Australian porcupine. For as a matter of fact, Madame, their pricks are the same size.”
There is not much difference between the so-called learned and the unlearned. Maybe the difference is of words, of language, but not of any quality. Their inner quality remains the same.
This is one of the fundamentals of Sufism to be understood - knowledge is futile if it has not arisen in your own experience. Knowledge is an utterly unnecessary burden if it is not part of your own life. If it is added to you from the outside, drop it. Don’t unnecessarily carry it. It is useless, it is harmful, it is poisonous and a burden. It will not allow you to move quick and fast. And the more you gather knowledge, the less is the possibility of your movement.
Hence your learned people live like stagnant pools, they are no longer rivers. The learned people go on talking about beautiful words, spinning, weaving great philosophies around them. But if you go into their words and penetrate deeply, you will always find emptiness and nothing else.
Great books are written about God by people who have no inkling. Great books are written about heaven and hell, even maps of heaven and hell have been drawn by people, and they don’t know a thing. They have not even penetrated their own world of emotions, feelings; they have not contacted their own inner consciousness. And they are talking about distant things - afterlife, life after death. And they are clever people; they know how to talk, they know how to prove, they know how to argue. And they argue in such a beautiful way that anybody can be deceived.
If you go into their argument you will find it very valid. But the validity of the argument is irrelevant. The question is whether the person knows or not. Sometimes it happens that a person knows but cannot argue or argues faultily. A person sometimes knows but has no language to express it or uses wrong language, but still what he says is true. His argument may be false, his language may not be adequate, but still what he says is true.
And on the other extreme there are people whose language you cannot find fault with, their argument is perfect, they are accomplished logicians. You cannot argue with them, they will immediately silence you. Still, what they are saying is utterly stupid. It does not make any sense. It is just in their mind. Their hearts are utterly untouched by it; they themselves are not moved by what they are saying. When they talk about godliness there is no juice flowing in their being. When they talk about love you will not see any sign in their eyes, and when they talk about poetry there is no poetry in their presence. They talk about grace but you will not see any grace anywhere.